ON the flip, not-so-hip, side, what you shan't find in today's post: cheesy, corny, cliched lines or songs or anything that has to do with reflecting upon life. Therefore, all of you hoping to hear some Ghandi quotes or Semisonic's "Closing Time" or Greenday's "Good Riddance," do me a big favor and close your computers without ever returning to this blog, there's nothing for you here. That's right, Deer Reader, your beloved blogger can show some catty attitude, or cattitude, if you will. But what you WILL see in today's post are: 1) a few poems, fresh out of my brain oven and still warm with my smart juices. 2) the long awaited Cuzco videos (try to contain yourself). AND 3) a metric butt-ton of photos and stories related to those photos. How much is a metric butt-ton, you ask? Just take a normal butt-ton, divide by pi and round to the nearest thousandth, but if it's not a prime number you have to do it again and raise the whole thing to e. HA! And who says lit majors don't know math?
Before we get things poppin', let me apologize profusely for the long, long absence. I'm not sure I've ever freaked out about a final exam as much as I did for my Medieval Spanish Lit exam (those were some dark days, like darker than reading Edgar Allen Poe on the dark side of the moon while wearing sunglasses). Oh, how did I do, you ask? Holla atcha blogga' when he gets an A- on a final!!! Anyway. (Who said that?) ((anyone who can tell me where this last joke is from, I'll write a short story about a day in your life, I promise)). Well, needless to say, I shan't let another whole month go by without some blogging. If, by chance, there ever is another month-long absence on this blog, don't cry for me, presume dead, and sell the rights to the story about my life to the Coen Brothers--I want to be portrayed by Javier Bardem, and I want the villain to be played by Kevin Costner. In fact, I want the villain to BE Kevin Costner. That's some good movie.
Alright for all you cats and kittens who've never been , Cuzco is a city more righteous than a Southern Minister on Judgement Day. It's a city which shares it's spaces with the modernity of contemporary Peru and the antiquity of the former Incan Empire once centered there. Nonetheless, I'm not here to write tourism brochures. I'll let the two videos--one of Cuzco itself and the other of Macchu Picchu--do the sight-seeing for you. Enjoy!
What I do have to say about mi querido Cuzco pertains to an incredible group of people I met there. About three hours south of Cuzco is an "albergue"--a shelter for young girls of all ages, whom've been victims of some of the most heinous acts other humans can commit. I won't go too far into it but I think you know to what I am referring, D.R. Yet, what I learned from these girls in an afternoon with them is a lesson I shan't soon forget. Once I stopped seeing these beautiful girls as victims of circumstance or consequences of deviancy and started seeing them as I see myself--another lost child in the world, looking for friends and wanting to smile--that's when the fun began!
And, just as they realized they were kids--that's all, kids--I too realized that's all I was: a kid looking to play, looking for fun, and in love with laughing. These girls, for me, transformed from examples of everything dark in the human spirit, to every act of genuine beauty of which that same spirit is capable. They'd seen things most of us have never even thought about because it would bring us to gut-wrenching tears, yet they could laugh and scream in joy like any one of us can. And if they can laugh and enjoy of this thing we call life, there's no reason we all can't.
Teary-eyed yet? No worries, the rest of the post doesn't hit nearly as hard, scout's honor.
So it is, my time in Lima is quickly drawing to a close, and now what? What can I say about my life in Lima that Walt Whitman didn't already say about America, or that Ginsberg didn't say about New York. Really, truly, sincerely, words escape me right now. Great for a blogger, right? Alas, that's how it is. My time in Lima comes to a close. I first saw this city only five months ago on a cloudy night in March, and I can say without hesitation that I'll never see it again the way I did that first night. Nor will it ever see me again--insecure, scared, sleepy-eyed, and a bit nauseous--as it did that first humid night. It seems like an eternity ago that I was thinking about writing and I was contemplating what I'd do with my life and where I would live and with whom I'd be. Of course, not much of that has changed; I mean, I still don't know where I'll be this time next year or with whom I shall be shootin' the breeze, but for the first time in my 21 (almost 22) years on this planet, I've found a city which has embraced me as though I were one of its children.
No, I'm not trying to be poetic or melodramatic, anyone who knows me well will you tell, Deer Reader, I've got some mighty complex feelings with the country which raised, clothed, and educated me. These feelings stem from a lot and it's not just as simple as having immigrant parents or being bicultural. No, as a being, as a thinker, the places I've known in the US have given me a spot of trouble, and I've not gone a prolonged period of time ever without feeling different or somehow like I just wasn't understanding something. It's that feeling we all get sometimes, that notion where you look around (figuratively and literally) and say to yourself, "Wait. Wait. This isn't right, this can't be right. Am I wrong? How does no one else notice this?" Maybe it's because I've been a tad more active here, participating in really cool stuff around the city like gay pride marches:
Deer Reader in Lima, you're on notice, I want to see y'all go to any event held by Intermezzo Tropical and show them love, you hear me?
Thus, in case you couldn't tell by now, a return to Lima (maybe a permanent return in the distant future) is a must. Por lo pronto, I'm thinking January, any thoughts Dee Rizzle? It's settled then, Lima I will see you on another sunny day:
Before I close out this blog post, I'd like to quickly give a shout out to my friend Kristin for her lovely words and brilliant summation of our group that arrived as strangers to Lima and left, one by one, as more than just friends. We became a family over the few months we shared Peru, truth be told, and I can't wait to see where our friendships take us in the future. You can find Kristin's blog at this link:
TWO final notes (didn't I warn you this post would be so long opera fans would be willing kill Pavarotti for an intermission?) I've learned so much about myself here in Lima, and perhaps one of the most important lessons I picked up was this one: I like writing and I should keep doing it. Sounds simple, I know, but I didn't always see it that way, my Deer Reader. Once again to everyone who reads and comments to me about the blog: much love. I do what I do when I do what I do all for you. With all that said: here's a poem I wrote and submitted to another competition. Let's channel our collective good thoughts to see this bad boy to publication, eh?
And you, what will you do with your life? (y tu, que haras con tu vida?)
I told the teacher I wanted to write, to be a writer.
he asked “what do you know about writing?”
So I began to tell him about this poem.
This poem I was writing, am writing, have written, wrote down long ago.
Long before I wanted to be a writer, there was this poem.
I told him about this poem,
these words that don’t mean anything but fit together, perfectly. This poem—
these commas and dashes that combine to dance something older than my house and my street.
I told him about this poem;
written by a journalist with a big beard, he was from New York and really liked nature.
He told me about his home, and how far away he was from everyone when he wrote, and how when he wrote he could feel his blood screaming, roaring through his body, wanting to spill onto the page. He asked if I knew anything about this poem, I told him I was scared to touch this poem, this poem which caused him so much pain.
Then I met another man, who wrote a theme. A theme, a theme for a class and a poem for this man.
He asked me to sing,
for he liked to sing. He liked to sing when no one knew he could, not even the bearded man and not even this poem. He liked to sing and be in love.
“That’s what’s beautiful about this poem!” He sang. “It’s part of me and part of you!”
Do you love me? Do I love this poem? I wanted to ask him so many more
questions, but I had to leave. I had to find this girl and tell her about this man, this poem,
this land I don’t yet understand,
and my words, still without a home. Though, I don’t sing alone;
I’m still young and don’t always know
when I should I talk and when I should listen, but what’s true for me (and true for you, too)
is how much I want to grow, and I want you to see me grow. I want you to read me.
Me, this poem, this poem, my words, you and I.
My poem is for you to love, for I love you and so I wrote you this poem.
Before I give you the latest poem in my arsenal, I'd like to share now that the next post will be a tad bit different from what I've been doing. Next post, which I want to have up no later than the last day of July, will consist of me answering any and all questions--mind you that they be tasteful and not profane--asked by you, Deer Reader, so for those of you with whom I am facebook friends, just send me a question via inbox, and I'll answer it in the next post. Questions can vary from stuff about my writing to discussions of high literary theory and ethical questions when it comes to education and I'll even answer a few questions about other non-smart stuff, like sports and boogers. Well, that's what I was thinking anyway. I eagerly await your questions and give you now what I think is the best thing I've written up to this point. Disfruta! Y Que viva Peru, carajo!
La cuidad, mi amante (The City, My Lover)
And still I am that child;
that juvenile spirit, painted to look like a sunset of dust in the desert—
but, just as easily, I’ll sell it to you
as though it were a postcard in a souvenir store where they also sell local liquor.
I take my new riches and buy myself a pair of bright yellow shoes!
Bright yellow shoes! Bright Yellow shoes! Bright Yellow Shoes!
I hurry home, dancing in my new shoes, but on the way, I fall
an ugly fall, into mud. My shoes are ruined.
I start to cry and scream and cry and scream and cry;
and my tears collect to form a profound river which grabs me, takes me
across the sea
to an ugly beach, inhabited only by rocks and trash.
I want to cry some more, but I’m all out of tears.
Where have I lost myself to now?
(Stop being such a kid. Pick yourself up and accept your new life)
From atop the cliff I make out a figure, faintly. You wave at me, call me.
So I come to you, I climb all the way up just to see you. There’s so much I want you to tell me,
but you don’t let me speak—
you point to the sea
and there I now see
the precious works—the masterpieces—they’re on display before us,
just for us.
Amidst the beauty before our eyes,
you take my hand, lay your head against my body, and breath your soul into my chest.
You embrace me as though you’ve never known any other; I explore your night, its mystery something that scares me, but I walk on, nonetheless,
reassured by the poetry in your eyes.
Your nights don’t have any stars, for you radiate in a gray glow—a cool, dry blanket—which wraps itself around me and lulls me to sleep by your side.
I awake abruptly! But only to make sure you’re still here, your body against mine, breathing in and out of dream.
The sun doesn’t come out, but I know it's morning.
I want to ask you now.
(What are you doing? What are you thinking? Aren’t you still a child?)
You look at me, suspicious of my intentions. Could I be yet another invader?
Your glance hits me from across a pile cars and people, all of whom are late, but none in a hurry.
I follow. paso paso paso paso paso paso. Step after step after step.
I catch you!
Let me talk to you, let me tell you everything.
You shake your head and point to the sky. The clouds have grown heavy and are on the brink of erupting.
“The city will be washed away. Everything
will flow back into the sea, even you and even me.
(I don’t care)
I don’t care about the sea or the rain.
It’s my turn to wrap myself around you and show you how I see. I kneel
and I lift you off your feet. From above me
you now notice the desert, that place which brought me here, across an ocean of years and threw me onto your shores.
The rain begins, delicate and harmless.
The water kisses my forehead.
From across the world, I rest my head upon your shoulder. If you kiss me again,
I promise to come back and be forever yours, my city.